Throw me a bone

Mission Viejo Animal Services rescued seven out of the 113 dogs kept by a hoarder in Riverside, while also keeping a healthy and stimulating environment for the animals they already carry

Siberian Husky in kennel at The Mission Viejo Animal Services Shelter. Sophia Hoffman/Lariat

Some people might collect shoes. Others might collect dolls. Or mugs. Or books. Well, this person in Riverside collected dogs. 

113 small dogs, to be exact.

On April 12, the Riverside Animal Shelter Rescue Department contacted Mission Viejo Animal Services through the center’s “A Mission For Home” program with a plea to take a few dogs off their hands. They agreed to take in seven of the 113 dogs—two of which were diseased—which were to be checked out by a veterinarian, bathed, fed, and cared for.

The two sick pups were immediately brought to the vet and were diagnosed with the Parvo virus, a fatal virus dogs can catch. The other five dogs were immediately put into testing and quarantined from the other dogs in the shelter.

“We put them through Parvo treatment,” Supervisor Kyle Werner says. “Unfortunately they didn’t survive. But that’s why the other ones are isolated. We’re still waiting to see if they test positive for Parvo before we move on to the general population.”

The dogs rescued from the hoarder in Riverside were said to come from an animal cruelty situation.

These dogs, among others, were brought in through the “A Mission For Home” program which involves Mission Viejo Animal Services bringing in animals from higher intake shelters to their own facility and promoting them for adoption.

The remaining dogs will stay with the Riverside County Animal Services where they will be put up for adoption at their annual “Barkchella” adoption event.

The Mission Viejo shelter is home to a selection of dogs, cats, bunnies, and turtles. Something that sets it apart from some others is that this shelter is a no-kill shelter.

“I think we’re under 1% of euthanasia rates for dogs and right around 2% for cats, which is really unheard of for an animal shelter,” Werner says. 

They do not euthanize due to lack of space and only resort to it when the animal has a severe medical condition that even loads of money couldn’t solve. When the shelter does become overpopulated, they work with rescues and people willing to foster.

While adoption rates are high at the shelter, one of the dog walker volunteers, Sheri Corlatt, describes it as a “revolving door.”

“It’s great,” she says. “They get adopted pretty quickly, but we always have dogs come through here, so… we always have dogs.”

Corlatt has worked at the shelter for five years and has enjoyed her time there. She, as well as others on the staff, recommends volunteering.

The center hires volunteers over the age of 18 and there are many different volunteering positions: dog walking, cat care, home fostering, field services, and opportunities in their wildlife programs.

For those who don’t have the time to volunteer, there are other ways to show support and get involved.

For instance, they were accepting donations to cover the veterinary costs of the two pups that succumbed to the virus.

They are always accepting donations and they have an Amazon wishlist, as well.

Of course, they are always looking for people to adopt. For more information, visit the Mission Viejo Animal Services website.